Why Does Hermes Have Wings on His Feet?

When you think of the Greek god Hermes, you most likely picture a winged figure with a staff. But have you ever wondered why he has wings on his feet? Let’s delve into the mythology behind this iconic feature.

Who is Hermes?

Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia, and he is one of the twelve Olympian gods. He is often depicted as a messenger and guide, known for his speed and cunning nature. In addition to his winged sandals, Hermes is recognized by his caduceus, a staff with two snakes wrapped around it.

The Story Behind the Winged Sandals

The story goes that shortly after his birth, Hermes snuck out of his crib and stole some cattle from Apollo. To conceal the theft, he crafted sandals from the hide of the cattle, which allowed him to fly away unnoticed. Later on, he added wings to these sandals to increase his speed and agility.

The Symbolism of Wings on Feet

In Greek mythology, wings symbolize freedom and swiftness. By having wings on his feet, Hermes can traverse great distances in a short amount of time. This attribute makes him an invaluable messenger for Zeus and other gods.

Additionally, Hermes’ winged sandals represent his role as a psychopomp – a guide for souls traveling between the mortal world and the afterlife. The ability to fly allows him to move between these realms effortlessly.

The Influence of Hermes’ Winged Sandals

Hermes’ winged sandals have become an enduring symbol in popular culture. They have been referenced in literature and art throughout history – from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to Marvel’s “X-Men” comics.

In fashion, designers such as Christian Louboutin have incorporated winged sandals into their footwear collections as a nod to the ancient Greek myth. Hermes’ winged sandals also inspired the design of Nike’s iconic “swoosh” logo.


In conclusion, Hermes’ winged sandals are much more than just a flashy accessory. They represent his speed, agility, and role as a messenger and guide. Their influence can be seen in various aspects of modern culture, proving that even in the 21st century, ancient mythology continues to inspire and captivate us.